Governor Terry McAuliffe at last week’s Virginia Economic Summit unveiled the first ever Virginia Community Business Launch (CBL) and announced the City of Staunton as one of the first three communities that will each receive up to $100,000 for small business development.
Staunton competed against 11 other Virginia Main Street communities that were invited to apply for funding. The pilot program is an initiative of Governor McAuliffe’s new Virginia Economy Strategic Plan, falling under the pillars of economic development, entrepreneurship and small business development.
“Small business development is critical for building a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Through this new initiative, we are placing the community at the center of small business development in order to help Virginia entrepreneurs thrive and contribute to our state economy starting in their own backyards.”
Staunton’s recent BRIGHT IDEAS Innovation Grants focused on the celebration of local entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations. CBL’s funding for the 2015 competition, “BRIGHT ReWired”, will focus on attracting new small businesses and startups from in and around the region. Cash awards will be made to new and expanding businesses with the utmost potential for success.
“Small business is the backbone of communities around the Commonwealth. They provide jobs, they provide talent, and they end up leading our civic organizations and help our children to pursue their dreams,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “Entrepreneurship is a key component of our economic strategy, and we want to foster the development of these individuals and their ideas.”
While only a limited number of entrepreneurs may win the business competitions, CBL will give rise to many budding entrepreneurs that have been prepared, through the CBL initiative, to be successful businesses. Staunton Creative Community Fund will offer the bulk of scheduled training and activities in conjunction with Staunton Downtown Development Association (SDDA) and Staunton’s Department of Economic Development.
“We are very pleased to have been selected for the Governor’s Community Business Launch Competition”, said Mayor Carolyn Dull. “Staunton is an excellent place for small business owners and entrepreneurs, and the CBL program will allow our partners to tell that story on a whole different level”.